Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rob Steen covers Black Cat 50





















Original cover by Lee Elias; Harvey Comics 1954. Rob Steen's website is here.

13 comments:

  1. Would the unfortunate gentleman on the cover have really gotten his face burned off by his piece of radium? Let's assume that he is holding a cylinder of pure radium-226 about 10 cm long and 1 cm radius. It would weigh about 173 g, nearly twice the annual worldwide production of all radium compounds! Radium occurs geologically in association with uranium at about 1 milligram of radium per 3 kilograms of uranium, requiring about 10 metric tons of ore to produce 1 milligram of radium. Radium-226 decays to radon-222 by alpha particle emission with a half-life of 1600 years. Our cylinder of radium would directly produce about 171 Curies of alpha radiation, or about 4.8 Watts of power plus up to four times that power from secondary decay of the daughter isotopes. The cylinder would merely feel warm or hot to the touch; most of the alpha radiation could be stopped by a piece of paper. In addition, radium-226 decay produces some gamma particles. Gamma exposure would be about 100 millirems per hour at a moderate distance from the source, i.e., five hours of exposure would exceed the average annual background radiation dose in the USA. Radiation-induced cancer risk becomes significant at about 10 rems, or about 100 times that produced by the radium cylinder in an hour. Actually, the most serious radiation hazard would be the radon-222 daughter isotope. Because radon is a gas, it could be breathed into the lungs where some fraction of it (half-life of 3.8 days) would decay to nonvolatile polonium-218 that would stay in the lungs and emit alpha particles internally. Production workers who applied radium compounds along with phosphors to luminous watch faces earlier in this century received serious radiation damage. The workers were exposed to radiation when they used their lips to tip their brushes to a very fine point in order to paint the small numbers and hands! The artist of Black Cat Mystery 50 took some liberties in illustrating the dangers of radiation, but it made for quite a cover!

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  2. the above comment was taken from:
    http://www.uky.edu/Projects/Chemcomics/html/bc_50_c_ra.html

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  3. I was thinking the exact same thing.

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  4. Both covers are utterly awesome. I like how the Radium looks like lip stick.

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  5. BIG EFFIN' HELL!

    HOW CAN HORROR BE THAT GORGEOUS!

    Mr. Goodin: Ha! :)

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  6. Awesome cover by Rob Steen!

    Love the drawing!
    It's nice and creepy.

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  7. That radium chapstick looks effective. I've got to get me one of those for the winter.

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  8. NICE- i almost did that one, too.

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